Football and poker have long been associated with each other. You’ll often see the likes of Teddy Sheringham, Gerard Pique, and Tony Cascarino on the green felt, whilst Brazilian legend Ronaldo is even an ambassador for PokerStars, a brand who themselves are making a move into the world of sports betting.
Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, or simply Ronaldo “Il Fenomeno,” is a famous football player who started his career in Brazilian Cruzeiro before playing in top European clubs like PSV, Barcelona FC, Inter Milan, Real Madrid CF and AC Milan before ending his career where it all started; in Brazil and Corinthians.
Still today, Ronaldo is recognized as one of the best football players ever, who won the FIFA title for the best player three times – a worthy achievement which only the former French midfielder Zinedine Zidane has managed. Ronaldo also is the second best World Cup scorer with 15 goals. In front of him is only Miroslav Klose, who on the last World Cup in Brazil 2014, surpassed Ronaldo.
Everything has it’s time, including Ronaldo’s famous career, after which the player switched from the green pitch to the green felt and joined PokerStars as an ambassador.
“I always try to deliver my best in everything, in football and in life. Poker is another challenge that excites me,” said Ronaldo. “For some time I have been discovering the game of poker and I have chosen PokerStars because they have a community passionate about the sport. Moreover, it has a great team of players.”
“Ronaldo symbolises the values we seek in poker: genius, talent and dedication,” added Jose del Pino, director for Latin America at PokerStars. “Having Ronaldo as brand ambassador is a proud and exciting opportunity.”
In an announcement in November, the poker brand – who has over 50 million members – said they are to launch a sportsbook in 2015 alongside other offerings which will take them into the wider casino arena. This is surely a move which can only attract more well-known football players and stars, as well as more football fans.
Sports betting has grown greatly over the last few years, becoming a multi-billion dollar industry and generating plenty of engagement on social media. In fact, the global gross gambling yield in 2016 is forecasted to reach around $70 billion.
And with PokerStars’ foot already in the sporting door – Ronaldo as well as tennis superstar Rafael Nadal, Olympic skier Marcus Hellner and Dutch hockey star Fatima Moreira De Melo are all signed up as ambassadors – they are already well known amongst sport fans.
Before we can have a flutter on Wayne Rooney scoring a hat-trick against Aston Villa or Cristiano Ronaldo to finish La Liga’s top scorer however, the brand is pushing out a host of casino features, which are already landing at PokerStars.
Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ Head of Corporate Communications said, “We are committed to extending our leadership in poker and will continue to serve the passionate online poker player, while expanding our reach into new audiences and new gaming opportunities.”